The Sister Pact wasn’t a book I was falling all over myself to read, and I honestly just meant to give it a few chapters before going to bed. Uh, no. I read this book straight through because I had to get a resolution. I found it very compelling, but also really hard to read because it was so emotionally distressing. I think fans of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why will find it particularly engaging, and I anticipate It will be well received by YA readers of many ages.
A suicide pact was supposed to keep them together, but a broken promise tore them apart
Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide – and not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they’d always be together, in life, and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.
Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.
But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie’s not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister’s death or facing her new reality without her.
Both the character of Allie and the conflict created by her sister’s death were really compelling. I related to the bond the sisters forged in the battlefield of their parent’s marriage, and I was as puzzled by Leah’s decision to commit suicide and leave her sister alone as Allie was. There were a lot of secrets and lies revealed in this story, and though many of them turned out to be typical and even mundane, it was easy to see how they added up to an unforeseen disaster in the end. I think that is important for people to read about because creating empathy can be key to preventing tragedies like this, and I thought it was quite smart for the author to subtly press readers with the idea that truth and saying what you mean is important in life. I’m still a little torn about some things in this book. Leah’s death and Allie’s perceptions about her familiy’s unhappiness do boil down to a blame game, and it isn’t always that way in real life. I think I would have been happier if the book had been clearer about how personal choices lead to consequences, and everyone has to take responsibility for their own fallout. I am also a little overwhelmed by the sheer flow of drugs in this book. I’m not stupid, and I teach high school, so I know that prescription drug abuse is real and it is big. The attitude and love/hate relationship Allie and her family has with them was still pretty shocking. There are clear consequences for taking the pills, and none of the experiences are anything I would feel drawn to replicate, but it reminded me of the infamous “Go Ask Alice” at points, so I expect there will be a few ruffled parental/authority figure feathers when this hits library shelves. Overall, this is a book that I found I couldn’t turn away from, even when the reading got emotional and truths got tough. Language and situations are most appropriate for mature high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.